Today in History:

721 Series I Volume XXXI-II Serial 55 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part II


him. I have already stated that he had but two brigades to hold the line from the Chattanooga Creek to the Chattanooga road, at the base of the mountain. The force early that morning at the Craven house slope had consisted of two brigades-Moore's and Walthall's-and was now re-enforced by the large part of third (Pettus'), while on the mountain top there were but one small brigade and two regiments of another, the larger portion being between the point and the works, the other picketing and holding a line of about 10 miles.

Of my six brigades it will be perceived from the foregoing account that four were engaged, while the remaining two were threatened by a force which, had it advanced, could soon have driven them from their position and irremediably cut us off from the army east of the creek- a position which I had been instructed to hold even at the expense of the mountain. I had been directed by General Bragg, if I needed re-enforcements, to call for them (see letter C), and as soon as I saw that the enemy were attacking and would carry the point, I availed myself of the order and called both upon Generals Breckinridge and Bragg for them by a staff officer. I instructed him to say to them that if they would send me re-enforcements I would, when the fog rose, attack the enemy in flank by sharpshooters on the mountain crest, and, descending Smith's trail, take him in the rear, and, I doubted not, drive him from the slope. This statement I repeated by three other staff officers, sent at intervals of half an hour. After waiting for some time for an answer, I received a verbal order from General Bragg to the effect that no re-enforcements could be sent me; that I must withdraw as best I could under cover of the fog, and that a brigade would be sent to the base of the mountain to cover the withdrawal. Subsequently I received the following note:

2.30 p.m.

The general commanding instructs me to say that you will withdraw your command from the mountain to this side of Chattanooga Creek, destroying the bridges behind. Fight the enemy as you retire. The thickness of the fog will enable you to retire, it is hoped, without much difficulty.

About five hours after the date of this order I received a note from Major-General Breckinridge, then my corps commander, informing me that he had arrived at the base of the mountain with a brigade (Clayton's) to be used in the retirement, and generously offering to confer with me, and render me any assistance in his power in the withdrawal of the troops. This brigade, as has been heretofore stated, relieved Walthall's and part of Pettus' command about 8 p.m., and was the only force sent to me that day. I was engaged in issuing the necessary orders for the retirement of the troops when Major-General Cheatham arrived. He informed me that he had come to consult with me, but not to assume command. I sent the troops from the top of the mountain down, and then proceeded myself to a point near its base, where General Cheatham and myself had appointed to meet. Here, as senior officer, he assumed command, and I then gave no further directions with regard to the retirement of the troops, except such as I received from him for those of my own division. Here we met, also, Major-General Cheatham took command, returned to his corps. Brown was directed at one to cross Chattanooga Creek (about 11 p.m.), Cumming at 1 o'clock, and Cheatham's di-